June 16, 2017

This project grew out of my son Joshua’s stated desire to read the entire run of the authorized Tarzan novels - the original series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and those ERB Inc.-sanctioned novels by Fritz Leiber, Philip José Farmer, Joe Lansdale, Will Murray and Michael S. Sanford - more or less in the order in which they take place. When Josh announced his intent, I decided to compile this chronology for the purpose of helping him and other fans who might be considering a similar reading project. (It was not my first such project, having previously compiled for my father a similar chronology for reading the two different Han Solo trilogies by Brian Daley and A.C. Crispen.)

Determining such a chronological listing can present something of a problem for those who are fans of Farmer’s “Wold Newton” mythos. In his biography of the character, Tarzan Alive (in which Burroughs’ original novels are depicted as being a fictionalized account of an actual person’s life), Farmer asserts that some of the original novels were published in a different order than in which the events they described actually transpired. Though a fan of Farmer’s Wold Newton works, for the purpose of this particular exercise Joshua opted to read the original ERB novels in the traditional sequential order assigned by Ballantine Books - with the exception of Volume 6, the short story collection Jungle Tales of Tarzan, which recounts tales of Tarzan’s youth, and which is included here in the place determined by Farmer in Tarzan Alive.

Chronological placement of the one ERB book not included in the Ballantine reprints, Tarzan And The Tarzan Twins (the combined title under which two shorter works - The Tarzan Twins and Tarzan And The Tarzan Twins With Jad-Bal-Ja The Golden Lion - were published in book form by Canaveral Press in the 1960s), is based on publication dates provided by Richard Lupoff in his study Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure. (Similarly, although Tarzan is only a minor character in the book, I have included ERB’s The Eternal Savage based on Lupoff’s discussion of the book.)

Lieber’s Tarzan and the Valley of Gold - a novelization of the 1966 film starring Mike Henry, which Leiber wrote to fit in with the original novels and was published as Volume 25 in the series by Ballantine - clearly takes place during that specific time period. It is obviously set some years after Tarzan: The Lost Adventure - Lansdale’s posthumous collaboration with Burroughs - which takes place following Tarzan’s return to Africa after the conclusion of World War II. Which means that there are more adventures yet to be recorded that fit in the period of time between the semi-cliffhanging ending of The Lost Adventure and the events of Valley of Gold - and that, in turn, means there will surely be future revisions to this chronology. 

Placement of the remaining post-Burroughs titles was, for the most part, easy to deduce from readings of the books themselves. The only one we weren’t entirely sure about was Will Murray’s King Kong vs. Tarzan, and so I went directly to the source; Will was nice enough to respond to my e-mail inquiry on Joshua’s behalf, and thus that book’s placement herein is based on the information provided by Murray.

At the time I started this project, Leiber’s novel was the latest novel in the series chronologically. Since then, ERB Inc. has published Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege by Ralph N. Laughlin and Ann E. Johnson. The bulk of this book takes place in 1985 (the first several chapters take place in 1971), and introduces a new member of Tarzan’s family: Jonathan Clayton, Tarzan’s great-grandson. (It's a pretty good book; read it if you haven't already.) The book offers indications that further adventures set in this time period are forthcoming, and when they are released they will be added to this chronology.

Although I originally did not intend to, I have also included the three authorized Tarzan short stories that appear in the 2013 anthology Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of those stories, “Tarzan And The Martian Invaders” by Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt, depicts Martians more in keeping with the invaders of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds than with the denizens of Barsoom created by Burroughs in his “John Carter of Mars” series. As a result I nearly opted to exclude this story… until I remembered another short story that appeared in the earlier Anderson-edited anthology War Of The Worlds: Global Dispatches. That story, George Alec Effinger’s “Mars: The Home Front,” demonstrates that Wells’ Martians do indeed exist on Barsoom alongside ERB’s Tharks, and so I changed my mind and included the Anderson-Hoyt tale as well.

One other note: For the purposes of this exercise, “authorized” novels means those books that are obviously connected to the original Tarzan canon as authored by Burroughs. There are other books that have been authorized by ERB Inc. over the years but are obviously NOT canonical, such as R.A. Salvatore’s Tarzan: The Epic Adventures and Jane by Robin Maxwell - both of which are “reimaginings” of the original stories, as opposed to additions to the existing saga. As such they are not included here.

By that same logic, I am also excluding both Thomas Zachek’s Tarzan Trilogy, a collection of three stories set prior to Tarzan’s involvement in World War II; and two novels by Jake Saunders, Tarzan And The Cannibal King and The Martian Legion: In Search Of Xonthron (the latter of which also features ERB’s other great fantasy hero, John Carter of Mars). All three books were authorized by ERB Inc., but they feature depictions of Tarzan and some of his supporting cast which simply are not compatible with the original Burroughs canon. (Nkima was NOT a female.)

Some fans will no doubt object to this, which is of course their right. And I certainly mean no disrespect to either Mr. Zachek or Mr. Saunders, both of whom have told the stories they wished to tell and found an audience receptive to those tales - and as a writer myself, I know how important that latter is. But for me as an individual reader, I simply feel that the discrepancies in depiction on display in these books are just too great to warrant their inclusion as “canonical.” 

And to paraphrase a comment one of the authors made during a panel discussion I attended at the 2017 ECOF (Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship) Convention in Irving, Texas: It’s my list, so I can do what I want.

And now on with this listing of the adventures of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, for those who wish to read them in chronological order:

1. Tarzan Of The Apes (chapter 1 through the first half of chapter 11) - Edgar Rice Burroughs

2. Jungle Tales Of Tarzan - Edgar Rice Burroughs

3. Tarzan Of The Apes (starting with the second half of chapter 11) - Edgar Rice Burroughs

4. Tarzan On The Precipice - Michael A. Sanford

5. The Return Of Tarzan - Edgar Rice Burroughs

6. The Eternal Savage - Edgar Rice Burroughs  (Optional, since Tarzan is but a minor character in this story)

7. The Beasts Of Tarzan - Edgar Rice Burroughs

8. “Tarzan And The Martian Invaders”  (short story in the anthology The Worlds Of Edgar Rice Burroughs) - Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt 

9. The Son Of Tarzan - Edgar Rice Burroughs

10. Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar - Edgar Rice Burroughs

11. Tarzan The Untamed - Edgar Rice Burroughs

12. “Tarzan And The Great War” (short story in the anthology The Worlds Of Edgar Rice Burroughs) - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

13. Tarzan: The Dark Heart Of Time - Philip José Farmer

14. Tarzan The Terrible - Edgar Rice Burroughs

15. Tarzan And The Golden Lion - Edgar Rice Burroughs

16. Tarzan And The Ant Men - Edgar Rice Burroughs

17. Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle - Edgar Rice Burroughs

18. Tarzan And The Tarzan Twins - Edgar Rice Burroughs

19. Tarzan And The Lost Empire - Edgar Rice Burroughs

20. Tarzan At The Earth's Core - Edgar Rice Burroughs

21. Tarzan The Invincible - Edgar Rice Burroughs

22. “Tarzan And The Land That Time Forgot”  (short story in the anthology The Worlds Of Edgar Rice Burroughs) - Joe R. Lansdale

23. Tarzan Triumphant - Edgar Rice Burroughs

24. Tarzan And The City Of Gold - Edgar Rice Burroughs

25. King Kong Vs. Tarzan - Will Murray

26. Tarzan And The Lion Man - Edgar Rice Burroughs

27. Tarzan And The Leopard Men - Edgar Rice Burroughs

28. Tarzan's Quest - Edgar Rice Burroughs

29. Tarzan And The Forbidden City - Edgar Rice Burroughs

30. Tarzan The Magnificent - Edgar Rice Burroughs

31. Tarzan: Return To Pal-Ul-Don - Will Murray

32. Tarzan And The Madman - Edgar Rice Burroughs

33. Tarzan And The Castaways - Edgar Rice Burroughs

34. Tarzan And The "Foreign Legion" - Edgar Rice Burroughs
35. Tarzan: The Lost Adventure - Edgar Rice Burroughs and Joe R. Lansdale

36. Tarzan And The Valley Of Gold - Fritz Leiber

37. Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege - Ralph N. Laughlin and Ann E. Johnson



May 3, 2017

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Me and my mother, Romania Sue Small, circa 1963-64.

I am told that a certain member of my family apparently did not appreciate my sharing the following story at my mother’s funeral last Friday. 

I have to admit to having been somewhat baffled by this response. Certain things being what they are, certain people being who they are, perhaps I shouldn’t have been. I don’t know. 

Everyone else seemed to appreciate the story, and had nothing b...

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April 6, 2017
APRIL 5, 1986, Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene, Kankakee Illinois.

Once upon a time, a boy and a girl from opposite sides of town met and fell in love…

The year was 1978. Jimmy Carter was president; Styx and the Electric Light Orchestra were two of the biggest rock groups in the country; and nearly a year after its release, Star Wars was STILL the numbest popular movie in America.

One Sunday evening in late April of that year, a teenage boy met the girl of his dreams at church. He was a ...

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February 22, 2017

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February 17, 2017

Faster than a speeding bullet? 

Ha!! Hardly… 

More powerful than a locomotive? 

Nope. Guess again. 

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? 

Not even on my best days back when I was young and thin and full of energy – and even if I could, I'd most likely crash on the way back down. So, wrong again - but thanks for playing.

Who am I?

This is not a question which can be answered simply, for I have worn many hats within the space of what seems to have been a relatively short sp...

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December 1, 2016

I have always loved the written word – reading it, writing it, at home or at school or at the office or sitting in the back seat of one of Mom and Dad's old Volkswagens when I was a child – and it has been my great fortune to have been able to turn this love into something resembling an actual career. (Much to the surprise, I'm sure, of a certain fifth grade teacher who once made the mistake of telling me that I would never amount to anything… but that’s a discussion for another day.)...

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October 28, 2016

By this time next week it will all, at long last, be over. The American people will have spoken, and - barring any last-second temper tantrums, court challenges or some other kind of monkey wrench thrown into the works - we will know who the 45th President of the United States will be and, for better or worse, we’ll be getting our first real glimpse into what the next four years may hold for our nation.

But I don’t want to talk about the election or the candidates anymore. It’s just go...

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October 27, 2016

Something rather... disquieting, I think, would be the most appropriate word in this particular instance... occurred to me last Wednesday night as I was in front of the TV watching the latest episode in this sitcom we are rather euphemistically calling the Presidential Campaign of 2016.

I have been alive now for just shy of 53 and a half years... a little more than half a century as the eagle flies. During my lifetime, America has seen one president assassinated, another president resign, a ...

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October 14, 2016

If someone had told me while I was sitting at the breakfast table Thursday morning that I would be spending much of that day defending the decision to award Bob Dylan this year’s Nobel Prize for literature, I suspect I would have done a spit take and blew Raisin Bran all over the room…

Every year when the Nobels are announced, there is always at least one recipient who becomes the subject of some form of controversy. This year that recipient was Mr. Dylan; a lot of people agreed with the...

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August 24, 2016

Believe me, nobody will be more happy than I will to see this current campaign season - with all its circus atmosphere and a cast of characters that makes me wonder sometimes if both major party candidates are being funded by Mad magazine -  finally come to an end.   

People complain about “election fatigue” in pretty much every campaign cycle, but I can’t remember a time when my own sense of fatigue has been so pronounced and, at times, downright painful to bear. More than once in rec...

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About Me

John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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